Surface water can affect the properties of metal oxide nanoparticles. Investigations on several systems revealed that nanoparticles have different thermodynamic properties than their bulk counterparts due to adsorbed water on their surfaces. Some thermodynamically metastable phases of bulk metal oxides become stable when reduced to the nanoscale, partially due to interactions between high energy surfaces and surface water. Water adsorption microcalorimetry and high-temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry, low-temperature specific heat calorimetry, and inelastic neutron scattering are used to understand the interactions of surface water with metal oxide nanoparticles. Computational methods, such as molecular dynamics simulations and density functional theory calculations, have been used to study these interactions. Investigations on titania, cassiterite, and alumina illustrate the insights gained by these measurements. The energetics of water on metal oxide surfaces are different from those of either liquid water or hexagonal ice, and there is substantial variation in water interactions on different metal oxide surfaces.